Friday, January 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes [1.25.13]

1.  I got a lot of emails from all of you about my Newborn Woes and I just want to say thank you!  Sometimes I write those kinds of posts in the heat of the moment and then when everything settles down and I have time to reflect I wonder if I've taken it too far.  When I've read too many "everything is coming up roses" blog posts I see around the Internet I suddenly have the urge to puke.  But I also don't want to turn into a Negative Nellie.  Just a little twist of humor without sounding like a jerk is sometimes the ticket to get the right perspective on everything, don't ya think?

Basically what I'm saying is that we love our little Bobby with all we have and wouldn't trade him for the world.  He's just a bit challenging right now.

2.  Guess what?!  We hired a babysitter!  I'm so so SO excited about this.  Up until this point we've used a couple of middle school girls who live in our neighborhood.  They have all been fine but none of them has had quite the competency level I felt was required for looking after our brood of young 'ducks.  Consequently, I've never left the kids for more than an hour or two for fear that the sitter wouldn't be able to handle much beyond that.  But when Bobby came along I knew I needed someone who really knew what they were doing if Brian and I were ever going to be able to have a date again.

With some recommendations from other moms, I took to  It cost me $28 for a month's membership.  What I loved about the site was being able to search by college.  Since we live within six blocks of two universities, I knew it would be smart to hire someone who attended one of those schools.  We picked a few girls that looked promising, sent out some emails and after an interview, found one we liked.  She's been over to babysit for us twice and she's great!  She's outgoing, playful, yet still firm with boundaries.  The kids get so excited when she comes over and I'm never fearful of what I'm going to find when I get home.  Yay!

3.  Temps were brutally cold in our neck of the woods this week.  That coupled with the fact that Brian has been busier at work prompted me to look into a grocery delivery service.  Have you ever used one?  I thought if I ever had a real excuse to pay a couple extra bucks just for the ease of it all, this was it.

I used Coborns Delivers and loved it!  I ordered all my groceries on Wednesday night and by Thursday they were all in my pantry and frig.  The delivery man even brought them into the kitchen for me.  I was impressed by their quality of produce, sale items and user-friendly website.  In all, I probably spent $10 more than I would if I got in my car and went to the store.  This won't be a service that I will use regularly but $10 is totally something I'm willing to part with on this day and at this time when just making sure my pants aren't on backwards is a challenge.

4.  As I mentioned, it was bitterly cold in Minnesota this week.  Am I weird that I sometimes find it thrilling to see just how low the temperature can go?  I love it when our weather makes the national news headlines.  Maybe the rest of the country thinks we're crazy for calling this place home but I think it shows what a tough and hearty bunch we really are because, although we still talk about the weather ad nauseum (Cold enough for ya, eh?), our lives pretty much carry on as usual.  It's also crazy to think that our temperatures will swing just as far in the opposite direction come summer meaning that if you lived here in any given year you would experience a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees.

William had ski practice on Wednesday night.  At the time the air temp was six below zero with a windchill in the teens or twenties below zero.  It was brutal.  The instructors told the kids to do two runs and then go in.  William uttered not a single word of complaint and when his two runs were finished, he asked to do a third.  A Minnesota child he is indeed.

I know I'm late to the party on this one but if you haven't watched it yet, you MUST watch this clip Jimmy Kimmel put together on Los Angeles weather reporters.  Hilarious!

5. For the past two weeks I've taken to reading aloud a chapter book to the two older kids.  At first I was only reading to William because I thought Lucy was too young to listen and comprehend but when I noticed she was just as mesmerized by the story, I started to make it part of their daily routine.  We're currently reading "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" and I must say it is positively magical.  I recommend!

As a bonus I've noticed that it's a great way to get the kids in their beds super fast because they can't wait to find out what's going to happen next.  It also really calms them down and I have yet to hear a single peep come out of them after I've finished our three chapters and kiss them good night.  Wins all around!

6. Who's watching Downton?  Are you loving it?  I thought Season 2 was a bit of a downer with all the war storylines but I'm really liking this season so far.  I'm aspiring to be the Dowager (Maggie Smith) when I grow old.  Heck, with all that wit, I want to be her now!

7.  Finally, as some of you may have noticed, I need to update my blog header.  I'm looking to hire someone who is proficient with Photoshop and graphic-y stuff to make me a new header design.  Just the header, not the whole blog.  No need to know anything about HTML or blogs in general.  But I don't want actual photographs in my header so they would need to know about creating logos and such.  If you know of anyone who fits the bill please let me know and we can talk about costs, etc.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sibling Shots

Based on my last post I know it sounds like I should be three kinds of crazy.  And it does test my mental limit to hear just how hard and how long one little baby can cry all day long.  But what you should also know is that the other three kids have been all kinds of great.  Aside from a little cabin fever with these sub zero temps we have had no problems with them.  See?  God really does only give you what you can handle. 
Sisters in the middle.
Yesterday I handed the baby over to William for two minutes so that I could run downstairs to change the laundry.  When I came back upstairs I heard complete silence and immediately panicked.  I thought perhaps he had accidentally killed the baby?!  Why was it so quiet?!

"He fell asleep, Mom."

And there he was, tree-frogged against William's chest.  Snoozing.  I need to take some tips from the six-year-old.

And then, just as I grabbed my camera to take this shot, he popped open an eye as if to say, "I don't sleep for you, Lady, so don't get your hopes up."

I think he hates me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Newborn Woes

I am sad to admit that I am no longer in love with the newborn stage.

Newborns used to be my favorite.  Their tiny finger and tiny toes.  Their curled up bodies against mine.  Their coma-like sleep.  Their need for little else than food and diapers.  Their easy portability.  And all the "oohs" and "ahhs" from strangers asking how old he/she is.

I'm so over it.

I look at other moms with six-month-olds and I'm envious.

Oh, Bobby.  I do love you.  But I'm longing for the day when your interests broaden beyond the one and only thing you seem to care about: boobs.  You are a boy, after all, so I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.

Bobby turned one month old yesterday and he decided to celebrate with a little party that began at the crack of midnight and ended somewhere in the four o'clock hour.  AM, that is.

I have never had a newborn who is quite as...hmmm...I hate to say fussy.  It seems a little mean-spirited.  Shall we say, needy?  Or "uncontented"?

Whatever it is, he cries.  Kind of a lot.  And not the lovely little cryout that seems to be saying, "Hey guys!  Remember me?  Anyone got a fresh diaper handy?  I could really use one over here."

Instead he seems to be screaming at the top of his lungs:


If you are someone who has no children yet, do not let this change your mind about procreating.  Not all babies are like this!  I swear it!

I'm trying to be patient.  I'm waiting for that magical age of six weeks when babies seem to work out their newborn kinks and start to love life outside the womb a little more.  Six weeks is the ticket, right?  Don't tell me if it's not.  I'm not sure I can wait much longer.

He did have a good day and night yesterday.  I also noticed in the bath last night (Which he cried through for about 90% of the time. DUDE, this is supposed to be relaxing!) that his baby acne is starting to clear up. So I think I'm starting to love him more.

I snapped this picture of him this morning which I'm going to print out multiple copies of and tape all over the house just to remind me that he does, at the very least, have the potential of not crying and looking cute.
As I type he's napping in his bouncy chair with the vibrator on high.  You should see the amount of D batteries we go through.  Going to a baby shower in the near future?  Stock those unknowing new parents with loads of D batteries.  They'll thank you later.

Wine and beer make good gifts too.

I'm starting to realize a "wine and beer" closing works with most all blog posts I write.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Moments of Insanity

If I ever changed the name of my blog that would be a good title, don't you think?

I took a break from blogging last week while Brian was in San Fransisco and I was back on the homefront trying my hardest just to make sure no one died or at the very least suffered the loss of a limb or anything.  I'm happy to report I succeeded.

In the end, it wasn't terrible going it alone for three days and two nights. The weather was warm, by January standards, so that helped when I needed to leave the house.  And at one point I even had three kids napping AT THE SAME TIME while William was at school.  Those were the peaceful moments.

But there were some trying times too.  Like when Bobby screamed all Thursday morning while I was trying to get the big kids ready for school.   And then he continued to scream all the way down the street to drop Lucy off at school and all the way back home.  And then there was Wednesday evening when I started to feel a little under the weather.  But I still had four kids to give dinner to and four kids to bathe and four kids to put to bed.  So I just had to power through and try not to lose my cool.  I didn't lose my cool.  But I did have everyone in bed before seven bells.  And then I put myself to bed too.

Brian got home late Thursday afternoon and I was surprised that while he was granted a momentary reprieve from his parenting responsibilities to do his duty as provider of this family, he was relieved to be home.  Joyful even.

It's funny.  The chaos can be almost...addicting?  Is that the right word?  Or maybe it's just all we know.  It's our normal.  And normal feels pretty good.

But the thing is, it isn't really all chaos all the time.

Brian's cousin and his wife stopped over on Saturday to see Bobby and when they came into our house they immediately commented on how quiet it was.  Obviously it is a complete lie to call our house quiet.  But we do abide by strict nap/rest times and fairly early bed times.  So if you happen to pop by our house between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 or anytime after 7:00, you will find a peaceful abode.

This is how we keep our sanity.  This is how we continue to like being here instead of always trying to escape.  This is how we limit the chaos and insanity to just mere moments instead of all day long.

Wine and beer help too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Magic By Lucy

Lucy: Pick a card any card and don't let me see what it is.

Daddy: OK, got it.

Lucy: OK, what's the number on it?

Daddy:  You're supposed to tell me!

Lucy:  Just tell me the number.

Daddy: OK, it's an eight.

Lucy: tell me what the picture is.

Daddy: A spade.

Lucy: ERRRRR! [Makes buzzer sound.] You lose.

Lucy: OK.  Pick another card but don't let me see what it is.

Daddy: OK.  Got it.

Lucy: OK, now put the card back in my pile.

Daddy: OK.

Lucy: OK, now find your card.

Daddy: What?  You're supposed to find my card.

Lucy: Just find your card please.

Daddy: OK, got it.

Lucy: DING! DING! DING! You got it!

Friday, January 4, 2013

7 Quick Takes [1.4.13]

1. Oh my! We are still on Christmas break around here. We are the only school in the area that I know of that doesn't go back until Monday. Things are getting long and a little boring but I just keep biding my time knowing that the weekend is almost upon us and then we'll be back in the swing of things.

2. To pass the time we've been slowly opening each new toy one at a time. I suggested to my mom, after reading positive reviews, that she give William Snap Circuits for Christmas. It wasn't a very fun present for him to open because he didn't know what it was. But let me tell you, sometimes you just have to go with your gut instead of trying to get the best reaction. The kid has not stopped playing with this toy since he opened it three days ago. And when he does take a five minute break to eat a meal, he's asking how quickly he can get back to his projects. This toy rocks. I highly recommend.
3.  Today I took the kids to Brian's office so that his coworkers could see Bobby.  For the first time I loaded all four kids into the car by myself.  There was a lot of crying and whining, mostly from me.  And when they were all strapped in, I admit there was a part of me that wanted to go back into my quiet home alone and take a long nap.  But I powered through and in the end it turned out to be quite a lovely morning complete with a very pleasant lunch at a restaurant thanks to well-behaved children.  Bonus: I didn't have to make lunch or do any dishes.

4. Next week Brian has a business trip. I'm nervous about this. Going solo during the day is one thing but going into the evening is a whole other animal. The trip was unavoidable but it's still better than what it was supposed to be: a whole week. I told Brian I couldn't survive that. So he was able to work things out and shortened it to just two nights. I think this is manageable. I hope it is. Pray for me please.

5. Aside from the business trip, I've been rather surprised at how easily we've all adapted to adding Bobby into our lives. As weird as it sounds, the transition has been easier with each new baby we've added. What it really comes down to is expectations. I know that things are going to get messy and cluttered. I know that I can't make a home-cooked meal every night. I know that it isn't realistic to plan playdates. So I just let those things go. I get up every morning and make my bed because that's easy and quick and gives me a small amount of control and satisfaction. I try to throw in a load or two of laundry every couple of days. The kids love spaghetti so why not have it again tonight? I didn't get a shower today, but there's always tomorrow. I've been around this block enough to know that it isn't always going to be like this and it's often more trouble than it's worth to try to force some notion of normal this early in the game. So until "normal" hits us, we'll sit here and continue to snuggle the new babe.
6. Another thing I did to make this transition easier was to buy myself some new clothes. I had back-to-back pregnancies and I really needed, deserved even, some pieces that said, "You're not pregnant anymore!" After Lucy was born, I was smart enough to invest in a nice pair of jeans that are a couple of sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy jeans. Now I have pants that actually zip and button without an embarrassing muffin top. Goodbye maternity panel! Then I hit up the after-Christmas sales online and now I have about five different casual outfits that looks good and will get me through my weight transition. What other things do you do post-pregnancy to give your happiness quotient a boost?
7. And finally, I can't leave you without a Baby Bobby picture. If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @mamanash75) you may have already seen this one.  I just love how Bobby is looking right at William in this shot. And I also love having an able-bodied six-year-old to help me carry around all these babies!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Best. Christmas. Ever.

We didn't go anywhere.

No one came to us.
We skipped the busy 4 o'clock mass and went to the much quieter 6 o'clock instead.

We had a whole pew to ourselves.

We had a roaring fire.

We sipped coffee with Bailey's.
We had simple dinners.

And a huge sushi takeout order.
We opened presents one at a time.

We sang Christmas carols.
 We stayed in our jammies all day.
We played with all our new toys.

We went out in the snow.
We made beaded necklaces on shoelaces that read "Daddy is the best." 
We read lots of books.

And watched lots of movies. 
And snuggled a new baby.

Maybe we'll do this every year.

And maybe next year I'll get in at least one picture.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bobby's Birth Story: Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

After a week of no action, I was starting to feel down in the dumps. How could I be this far progressed and not go into labor on my own? I was starting to fear that it would never happen on its own and that I would ultimately have to succumb to interventions to get this baby out.

Thursday night was rough. I couldn't get comfortable in bed. I was contracting on and off. I had to go to the bathroom every five minutes. And for the real cherry on top, Katherine had one of the worst nights of her life. That meant neither Brian nor I got a good night's rest.

Friday morning I woke up groggy and got William off to school. My mom went for a run and Brian went to the basement to get some work done and take a few client calls. Because of her restless night, Katherine was sleeping in. So Lucy and I settled on the couch to watch the Today Show. As I was sitting there I started to feel regular contractions but still nothing intense enough to sound the alarms.

Katherine woke up a little after 9:00 and on my way upstairs to get her I made a pit stop at the bathroom. That's when things really started to pick up. I changed Katherine's diaper and got her in her seat for some breakfast. All the while I was having to pause every few minutes to get myself through a contraction.

I went down to the basement where Brian was speaking to a client on the phone. I pointed to my belly and mouthed, "You need to wrap things up!" He nodded and I headed upstairs to throw some things in my hospital bag. As I was in my room I had a massive contraction and had to brace myself over my dresser. After it was finished I yelled down to my mom, "Tell Brian we need to go now!"

Brian quickly told his client he would follow up with an email and basically hung up on him. Super funny!

He came upstairs, grabbed all our stuff and we were out the door in no time. We called the maternity floor on the way to the hospital. When we were discharged the weekend before, my midwife told me not to bother with the midwives answering service. I wouldn't have time. So she gave us the direct line. Brian explained our situation to the hospital staff that answered the phone and I was delighted to hear that the same midwife who discharged me last Sunday was on call again this day.

While we were still on the highway Brian made a phonecall to his coworker asking him to cover the rest of his calls that day.  The call was timestamped at 10:06.  This is important for realizing just how fast things went.

We arrived at the ER and had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for our escort. Once I got into my room the contractions did not let me rest. They were on top on each other. I asked to go in the bath but after my midwife checked me she said we didn't have time. She asked me to get on my hands and knees for two contractions to get baby's head in a better position. Brian later told me he could see a moving bump on my lower spine and that my midwife told him that was the baby's head. Seriously...the way a woman's body contorts to accommodate pregnancy and delivery is amazing.

After those two contractions I flipped back over where my midwife broke my water and promptly let me push. It took one push to get his head out and one more small push to get his shoulders out. At one point she even told me I needed to slow down. Coming out too fast is not good for babies.

Weeks before I went into labor I had told Brian that with this baby I wanted to find out the gender for myself instead of him calling out "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" like he had done with all the others. But when they threw that baby on my chest he couldn't help himself. He was so excited. "It's a boy! It's a boy!" He shouted through tears.

At 10:47 in the morning on December 21st, the first day of Winter and a day many thought the world would end, Bobby Nash was born.

I was so relieved. I wasn't pregnant any longer. The pains of labor were over. I did it. And it was a boy. Bookend boys. That's what I thought to myself.

All the nurses and especially my midwife were commenting on how big he was. So as they rolled the scale into my room we all threw out a few guesses. Nine pounds, two ounces. Nine pounds, seven ounces. But none were even close. I couldn't believe my eyes when the numbers 10 and 7 flashed on the scale. Bobby was a whole two pounds bigger than my next biggest baby. He was three and half pounds bigger than William was at birth. And he was only seven pounds lighter than Katherine currently weighs!

He was late. He was huge. But he was definitely ours.

Every time I pass the fireplace mantle and see four stockings hanging all in a row I just chuckle and shake my head. Four kids. How did we get here so fast? It feels so good. It feels so complete. It's where we've always wanted to be.
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